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US Vetoes Palestine Becoming a United Nations Member State

April 19, 2024
Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the United Nations, addresses the Security Council meeting on the admission of new members. Photo source: Eskinder Debebe/UN/UPI

The United States vetoed Palestine’s draft resolution to have full membership in the United Nations (UN), during the UN Security Council on 18 April.

Twelve members voted in favor, two (the United Kingdom and Switzerland) abstained, and the United States voted against Palestine becoming a UN member state, which would entail participating in decision-making and voting powers in the General Assembly for resolutions.

The US veto is “a blatant aggression” and “an encouragement to the pursuit of the genocidal war against our people… which pushes the region ever further to the edge of the abyss,” said Palestine’s President, Mahmoud Abbas after the vote

The Security Council needs to have a minimum of nine members in favor of a resolution for it to pass, and most importantly, for all of its permanent members, which are Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States, to vote in favor.

“The United States continues to strongly support the two-state solution,” the US Deputy Ambassador, Robert A. Wood, stated after the vote on 18 April.

In September 2011, President Abbas sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the UN requesting membership in the UN. The Secretary-General forwarded the request to both the Security Council and the General Assembly and it was denied. 

Palestine sent another letter to the Secretary-General of the UN on 2 April requesting a review of its application for membership. The Secretary-General referred it to the Security Council, and the Committee of the Admission of New Members met twice on 8 and 11 April of this year to discuss the membership. 

Palestine currently holds the status of a “Permanent Observer State” at the UN, which allows it to take part in all of the organization’s activities, yet it cannot vote on draft resolutions and decisions within its main organs and bodies.

Ahead of the Security Council meeting on 18 April, the Egyptian Ambassador of the UN, Osama Abdelkhalek, emphasized that acknowledging the Palestinian State is the right of every Palestinian, and stated that Palestine meets all the requirements to become a UN member.

“Egypt reaffirms that it strongly rejects any Israeli efforts to escalate the situation regionally and open new fronts of war in the Middle East, diverting the world’s attention from its barbaric war against the Palestinians in Gaza,” Abdel-Khalek stated.

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